Posts Tagged ‘The Third Man’

New source documents attached to Mandelson new ebook

24/09/2011, 12:56:17 PM

On Monday the world will be told (by publishers, Harper Collins) about the ebook version of Peter Mandelson’s The Third Man, which includes copies of original letters and minutes, audio commentary and video footage. Political memoirs and signings are the standard fare of conference season. But the new and improved The Third Man ebook is not standard. It is deluxe. Or, at least, many of the source materials have genuine curiosity value.

The Dark Lord’s actual handwriting, as those historic events swirled around us, is almost enough, at times, to send a shiver.

In one handwritten note, to Tony Blair on 3 May 1997, simply entitled “my job” he writes “I just beg you to set me up in a job in which I am neither an ornament not a cork bobbing, misinformed and ineffective, in the government machine”. [Memo to TB on position in new government]

Later in the same memo, he asks that in the job he is given he should “support Alistair, and front for him, but (that) I am not portrayed in any way as a “spin doctor”.

And in another note, written between Christmas and New Year of 1995, reflecting on the death of John Smith he writes:

“It was assumed that one of the modernisers, Brown or Blair, would become leader and it was clear from Gordon’s tone which one he thought it would be”.

He, Blair and Brown, he says “were like the three musketeers”. [John Smith’s death and leadership contest]

And we see the famous lines: “We were elected as New Labour and will govern as New Labour. TB to see. Line to take”, dated 2 May 1997. [Final campaign note to Tony Blair]

Uncut understands that Peter Mandelson will be available to sign your kindle or iPad in the lobby of the Jury’s Inn on Tuesday afternoon. He’s behind you.

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Exclusive extracts from the paperback edition of Peter Mandelson’s book, the Third Man.

25/02/2011, 08:00:03 AM

The paperback edition of Peter Mandelson’s book, the Third Man: life at the heart of New Labour,  is published  on Monday. It contains a new chapter dealing with events since the hardback was first published last summer.

The new chapter includes Mandelson’s thoughts on Ed Miliband’s victory, the impact of the new government and the AV campaign, among other ruminations of the former cabinet minister, EU commissioner and prince of darkness.

In the extracts below, published exclusively here on Uncut for the first time, he talks about David Miliband’s failure to “take the gloves off and mobilise” Labour’s natural New Labour base.

And he rues David Miliband’s refusal to do the deal with Ed Balls that Mandelson says would have secured a  David Miliband victory.

Mandelson on why David Miliband lost…

[David] was fearful that if he championed a renewed New Labour vision too strongly, he would be living up to Ed’s stereotype of him as an establishment figure tied to Tony’s coat-tails. He ended up in something of a no-man’s land – wanting to be the New Labour standard-bearer, but terrified that this would lose him many activists’ votes. He did defend New Labour’s  achievements when his brother started to single out a number of them for criticism. But I felt then, and still feel, that he missed an opportunity to take the gloves off and mobilise those in the broader party membership who still celebrated our three terms in Downing Street – and who would have followed a leader with a plan to update and reinvigorate our governing programme rather than bury it.  (p.xxii)

Mandelson on why Ed Balls could have made a difference…

David and I did not speak during the campaign… I understood and respected his desire to go it alone, although in a roundabout way I did pass on one suggestion. It was that he should reach out to the other Ed: Ed Balls.  I had come to know Ed Balls – and in our later years in government to respect him – as a tough, pragmatic politician. I was certain his overriding concern would be to ensure that Labour escaped being relegated to another long spell in opposition. Tactically, there was an obvious interest for him and David, two political heavyweights able to balance their respective strengths, to work together. Although it was fairly clear from the start that Ed Balls was not going to win, he did have significant support to deliver. I knew Gordon would be leaning hard on him to throw this support behind Ed Miliband, since his distrust and resentment of David’s previous on-off leadership challenge had never abated. A concerted effort by David to forge a future leadership alliance with Ed Balls might well have allowed him to carry the day. David was not persuaded, however, both because he did not want to be placed under any obligation to Ed, and because, until the end, he felt he had enough strength on his own to win. (p.xxiii)

The paperback edition of Peter Mandelson’s book, the Third Man: life at the heart of New Labour, is published by HarperPress on Monday.

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We were elected as New Labour, we will govern again as New Labour, argues Peter Mandelson

21/07/2010, 01:22:40 PM

In London, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle (and Hartlepool) this week,  thousands of party members and the public have heard or will hear the third man speak about his book.  They were interested and most bought copies. It seems a far cry from the condemnatory statements made by some of the Labour leadership contestants upon the book’s publication. They hadn’t read it, of course, but since then many others have.

After the party has suffered electoral defeat, it is timely to debate our past as well as our future. The two are linked. And we don’t have to dismiss  one in order to make progress in the other.

In The Third Man, I take the reader back over twenty five years of our party’s fall and rise, not simply the thirteen in government and not just that period after the Iraq war until  2006 when relations between our Prime Minister and Chancellor entered a trough and when their policy differences over NHS and schools reform, university financing and pension policy flared.

Political change on the scale we undertook it, in the creation of New Labour, required intense and sustained teamwork and partnership, trust and mutual support, over a long period of time.  Tony and Gordon were at the centre of this – in the main – productive and creative activity.  But in a truthful memoir and autobiography, when I was personally a part of this relationship over so many years, you cannot explain the good and the bad times without describing what the participants said and did, to as well as with each other. And it is better to tell the story earlier rather than later, before preparing for the next election.

If I have one abiding memory of the period when we were creating New Labour it is the friendship and comradeship amongst all those who made it happen. And that friendship endures, including in the election campaign this year. It has been a happy time and a very successful one. We must have been doing a lot right, although you might not think so to listen to those hastily announcing the ending of New Labour as if you can turn its principles and precepts on and off like a tap.

Millions of voters didn’t think this way and we have to ask – as my book does – why so many of them decided not to support us in this year’s election. Was it because they thought all of a sudden that we were too New Labour? I think not. And that is the central message of The Third Man.

Peter Mandelson is a Labour peer, a former cabinet minister, and author of The Third Man: Life at the heart of New Labour.


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